A 4-year-old New York-bred daughter of Key Contender, Weathered won for the ninth time in 15 lifetime starts and increased her earnings to more than $400,000 by scoring the 1 1/8-mile Next Move, which was the biggest victory of her career. Mike Luzzi rode the chestnut filly for trainer Karl Grusmark.
Weathered received a perfect stalking trip behind Successful Sarah, who broke sharply from post one and clicked off fractions of :23.43 and :48.36 under Eddie Castro. Weathered never allowed the pacesetter to get too far away from her, and eventually grabbed the lead midway on the far turn.
Weathered put away Successful Sarah approaching the quarter-pole, but had to contend with Winning Point, who came three-wide into the stretch under Rajiv Maragh. The Point Given filly was breathing down the leader’s neck for much of the stretch drive, but Weathered never relinquished her advantage. She crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front and stopped the clock in 1:52.44 on the fast main track.
Winning Point was a clear runner-up, 4 3/4 lengths ahead of third-place Successful Sarah in a short field of five.
“With the speed horse on the rail, on paper, we figured the race would unfold as it did," Luzzi said. "I’ve been working with her in the mornings, teaching her to slow down – she got away from me a little bit – but I got her to relax on the backside. In the stretch, when I needed her to fight, she did. Karl has been keeping her happy for a long time, and today it showed.”
Weathered entered the Next Move off of a wire-to-wire 7 1/4-length romp in the Feb. 21 Rare Treat Handicap at Aqueduct. Her only other start of 2009 came in the Jan. 9 Plankton Stakes, in which she finished third on the inner track. She finished fifth to Proud Spell in the Delaware Oaks (gr. II) last summer in her graded-stakes debut.
Sent off as the odds-on choice, Weathered paid $3.70, $2.20, and $2.10. The exacta (5-4) returned $6.40.
Weathered was bred by Edward Shapoff and is out of the Thunder Puddles mare Thunder Squad.
“I was very hopeful (coming into the race)," Grusmark said. "She has been doing extremely well, and we thought she’d run awfully well today, and she didn’t disappoint. Weathered has done extremely well this winter – she loves Aqueduct. We hope she loves Saratoga just as much.
"We’re going to take a look and see how she comes out of this; she might take a little side trip to Charles Town (April 18), but we’re very pleased with the effort today. Michael did a wonderful job with her, as usual.”